Americans Climb New Route in Chile


Grant Zimmerman leading the seventh pitch of The Slash. Photo by Ian Nicholson.

Ian Nicholson and Graham Zimmerman have climbed the east face of Los Gemelos in the Torres del Paine area of Chilean Patagonia, likely making the third ascent of the mountain. The Slash (IV+ 5.10b A2) diagonals across the lower of the twin peaks and then up the southeast ridge of the higher peak. 

The two climbers left camp in late morning, immediately after a storm ended, and started up the route at around 2:30 in the afternoon. The 1,200-foot climb went in 10 pitches, mostly free despite ice-choked cracks. They topped out after midnight in heavy snow and extremely high winds, and rappelled through the night, occasionally being blown off their stances by gusts that may have reached 100 mph. The made it down to the glacier at 4:30 a.m. and returned to camp after nearly 22 hours on the go. 

The summit of Los Gemelos (“The Twins”) was first reached in early 2009 by Mark Matthews and Dave Turner, who climbed the northeast ridge. Their route was repeated that same season. 

Los Gemelos (“The Twins”) in the Torres del Paine, Chile. Green line: The Slash (Nicholson-Zimmerman, 2010). Blue line: Audios Ayer (Matthews-Turner, 2009). Photo by Ian Nicholson.

Zimmerman leading the 10th pitch as another storm moves in. Photo by Ian Nicholson.

Nicholson and Zimmerman also attempted the west face of La Hoja four times but were turned back by icy conditions, poor protection, and mediocre rock. 

Date of Ascent: January 25-26, 2010 

Sources: Ian Nicholson, American Alpine Journal

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